My Best Friend’s Mental Disorder

Sometimes I forget she’s different. I know of the addictions, and how easy it is to fall. I know that climbing back up is treading on a slipper slope, and that finding another path can seem impossible. I know how it feels when you think you are all alone. I don’t know how it feels when you truly believe that.

Last night, as we drove around in the dark back roads of my neighborhood, she told me what she was feeling and I truly listened to her, maybe for once in our friendship. I don’t think I tried to understand really, but just listened and took in her tears and the sadness that cracked her voice as she opened up to me.

I think a lot of people felt like they were stuck in a hole at some point in their life. That they were clawing at the walls with bloody fingernails and couldn’t understand why they weren’t getting anywhere. That sometimes, someone would reach down with their hand to offer you help, but that someone wasn’t strong enough to pull you up with one, and wouldn’t reach out with other because it would distract from their task at hand, so they just gave up and let you drop down into that pit again. I think we’ve all had the realization that you can’t count on everyone, all of the time. That you can’t count on some people any of the time, but you can count on other people most of the time, and everything in between.

What if you were born in this dark place, and only ever experienced the light when someone else would pull you out for what little time they wanted you, only to throw you back in when they were done? What if everything everyone ever told you to try to get yourself out of that hole, never worked? “Silver’s Perfect Plan” or “Tatiana’s Playbook” or “Chris knows what you’re feeling Guide to Getting Out” was made just for them, and how are you supposed to write your own plan out if you’ve got nothing but your worn out hands and a brick wall? How are you ever supposed to gather the strength from all of these downfalls and drag yourself out of where the world put you? It’s okay to feel helpless.

It’s okay to feel helpless. Everyone has. Thing is, when the average person feels helpless, this invisible rule seeps into the mind of this person whose opened themselves up in hopes of help, but the possibility of harm too. This invisible rule tells us to tell ourselves that we need to figure it out alone; that it is solely your own responsibility to make yourself strong again. Has that ever really worked for anyone?

I think to the last struggle I had personally, and how I moved on from it. With the help of my sister, or before, with the help of my father. Family plays such an important role. In the years that I’ve known her, I can’t say with confidence that her family has been there the way a little girl needs.

She was born into that dark hole that everyone has inside of them. It has taken over her through the years and enveloped her in darkness. It is the spirit and soul that dwells in the deepest parts of her being that drives her on. She was born with strength like a burning fire and a sadness that feels like too much sad, and this battle rages on inside her mind. She is a victim of her own burning desire for love and companionship, as she is the same with her torrents of depression, dragging her into the deepest part of the ocean of sadness that chokes her of her will to go on.

“If only one of my parents had been there for me.” I haven’t seen her father in her life until this year, and we’ve been best friends for 6 to 7 years now. Her mother is the opposite of what she is: there is no fire and there is no ocean tide. She is as flat as the desert floor and just as barren. Who is a girl to turn to when her own mother won’t hug her tightly to take the pain away or wipe the tears from her eyes?

My friend, she seeks this family that she never got. Born a decade after her two sisters, an accident of the unprepared, a blacksheep in her own blood, she turns to love to pull her out of this despair. There is very little to say about love, only that it is never logical and in no way permanent. And that it bring her out of this hole, for however long he wants to have her heart, but when he let’s go of the love, he let’s go of her. That pit did not just go away when she was in the light. It stayed right where it was, and each time she’s dropped back in to land on the cold hard ground like a ragdoll, disposable, she goes a little deeper.

She wants someone to be her partner, her companion in life. She cannot do it alone, and it is the right of no one to tell her otherwise. It takes so much strength that people don’t realize or appreciate, to truly know what you need. Even more so to ask for it and to ask for help getting it. She has no walls and she lets love in, hoping it will save her from the depths of her sadness. If only people could be relied upon.

It goes without saying that a lot of her strife can be avoided and that to those with the ability to ease the mind and feel the love, all of this might seem solvable or avoidable. This is not the case when someone has a mental disorder. This is something that someone cannot just get over, and that those who do not have that extra internal hurdle to jump cannot understand.

***

It was hard, to be there for her, to listen to her, and to not say anything. To not tell her that so many people are truly there for her, just not in the exact way she needs. That sometimes you have to compromise with people or live with constant disappointment. But compromising with others to settle on second best is a disappointment too. There is a choice to be made then, and you will never truly know if you made the right one. It was hard not to be able to tell her that the world is fluid and people change and perfection is an illusion that will ultimately fail you when you’re taking your final breath. That she will not always get what she wants but there will always be people who love her. How can you tell someone that no one knows anything, not her nor I, and that you just have to make it day by day?

It’s hard to be there for someone who doesn’t think you are, no matter what you do. She truly believes that no one is. It’s hard not to say anything when so much needs to be said. It’s hard being the best friend of someone with a mental disorder. In the end: I love her, no matter what.

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